India holds a significant place in the global oil industry, both in terms of cropland and output. Around 10% of the world’s oilseeds are produced in the country, and between 6% and 7% of all vegetable oil in the world is produced as well.
Since India became one of the world’s major importers of edible oil in the 1990s, importing approximately half of the local supply, the oilseed sector has always been a significant area of concern. The improved oilseed area helped in creating a profitable edible oil market in India.
In this blog, we tell you about the ways India can become self-sufficient in edible oil production.
Edible oil consumption and price in India
According to the recently retrieved data, each Indian consumed 19.5 kg of edible oil every year on an average during 2015-16, up from 15.8 kg in 2012-13. This incessant increase created a demand of around 26 million tons of cooking oil, profiting the edible oil market in India.
To fulfill this demand, in 2018-19, India cultivated oil seeds on 25 million hectares of land, producing 32 million tons of oilseeds in that time period, with soybean, rapeseed, mustard, and groundnut accounting for almost 90% share in the area.
As per the recent statistics available for the year 2019, India imported around 15 million tons of edible oil, worth Rs 7,300 crore, which accounted for 40% of the agricultural imports bill, and 3% of the overall import bill of the country.
The Wholesale Price Index of edible oils across India during the financial year 2022 was over 187. An overall increase in the price index was seen over the years from the financial year 2013 in the country.
This clearly indicates that GST implication has worked to lower the edible oil prices in India, eventually lowering the prices of majorly consumed vegetable oils. For ex: there also was a significant decrease in the soya oil price India, after the introduction of gst in the country.
Ways that will make India self sufficient in edible oil production :
Vegetable oils are extracted from plant sources, like seeds or fruits. These are known to provide nutrition to the body and thus are associated with numerous health benefits.
Primarily, they are a major source of energy and carrier of essential nutrients which are vital for growth & metabolism, protecting brain cells, reducing the risk of heart disease, etc.
A wide range of oilseed crops are produced in different agro-climatic regions of the country, which include groundnut, soybean, mustard, sesame, sunflower and safflower.
Increase in Domestic Production
India is said to have the potential to increase the domestic production of oilseeds; by improving the farmland area, which could reduce the dependence on imports, and also benefit the farmers.
To gain self-sufficiency in the production of oilseeds, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has adopted a multi-pronged strategy. Under the strategy, the Government of India has approved an ambitious plan for free distribution of high yielding varieties of seeds to farmers for the Kharif season 2021 in the form of mini-kits.
This program brought an additional 6.37 lakh hectare area under oilseeds, and produced 120.25 lakh quintals of oilseeds and edible oil, amounting to 24.36 lakh quintals.
The Government of India, through this ambitious mission, wished to augment the availability of edible oils in the country by increasing the production of oilseeds and reducing the unnecessary imports of the oil, making India self-sufficient in the production of oil and also saving valuable foreign exchange for other essential raw materials.
Promotion of Oilseed Cultivation
The Government of India, through an introduction of many missions like the one mentioned above, is continuously taking effective measures to increase the domestic production of oilseeds in the country.
This ensures that India has a potential to increase the domestic production of oilseeds, which could reduce the dependence on imports, eventually benefiting the local farmers.
For instance, technology missions on oilseeds and other policy initiatives have helped the country to increase the area under oilseeds from 9 million tonnes in 1986 to 32 million tonnes in 2018-19.
The government is implementing a number of additional programmes to increase domestic output, including the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana’s Oil, raising the minimum support prices for oilseed crops, creating a buffer stock for oilseeds, clusters demonstrating oilseed crops, etc.
Introduction and a proper implementation of all of these schemes and missions can certainly help India become atmanirbhar in the production of edible oil.